Before 8am {Stephanie}

“Life is an adventure, and there is no script. I see something in ordinary moments. I believe that perfection comes not when you are dressed perfectly and wearing lipstick – but in little moments and interactions that make up our days and build and sustain our relationships. Let me show you the beauty in your unscripted moments…” – Karen Jacot, photographer

Like all the great moms before me, I stressed so much about this photoshoot. First of all, my house is a disaster every day of the year. Second, we are not interesting people in the morning. From 7-11pm, we are a reality show {or an episode of Jerry Springer, depending on the night}. But the more I thought about it, I realized that the mornings are our peaceful times and the only real opportunity that I have with each child that isn’t total chaos. So with that, I agreed to have the shoot done.

Ours took place on Monday, April 6. If I would have thought this out in logic and not in panic, we would have scheduled for that Wednesday after the housecleaning service came the day before! But that never entered my mind, and I just cleaned non-stop all weekend!

I’m different from most of the awesome HMB contributors in that my kids are older. Avery, my son, is 11 and in the 6th grade. My daughter Piper is 10 and in 4th grade. As much as I dreaded Avery going off to junior high, I’ve loved that I get distinct portions of time with both kids in the morning. I am not a morning person {far from it}, but the kids are! So I have found over the past few months, that these times are the best times to really visit and dig into them and what’s going on.

Before 8am - Stephanie Click

At 6am, the alarms go off. Avery sets his own alarm, and I set mine. As of now, I’m not planning to go off to college with him, so for the past few years, everyone in the house has been responsible for getting themselves up and going. {My husband leaves for work at 5:30am!} Avery always pops right out of bed, but I’ll admit that I usually hit snooze. I listen to make sure I hear his feet hit the stairs, but I need a few moments alone to pry my eyelids open.

Before 8am - Stephanie Click

After looking at the other Before 8am posts, I feel like less of a mom because I don’t fix my kids breakfast every morning. I do make sure they eat – although they would never skip breakfast, it’s their favorite meal. But since kindergarten, they’ve always fixed their own. Every day. I’m around if they need a little extra help, but I honestly can’t think of the last time that they did.

Before 8am - Stephanie Click

Most mornings, Avery will choose cereal. He is a no-frills type of kid. Likes all cereal – will eat whatever you buy or offer. He is and always has been a dream to parent.

Before 8am - Stephanie Click

Avery watches BBC every morning. He’s an old soul … I tend to read the news on my phone or the weekly newspaper. I have always loved a good newspaper. I attribute that to getting up with my grandfather every morning and watching him read the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer {the daily paper from Owensboro, KY}. He’d read the news, and I’d read the comics. These days, Avery watches the world news and I try to keep up with local things.

Before 8am - Stephanie Click

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Before 8am - Stephanie Click

Five minutes before time to leave, Avery begins the wrap-up routine of brushing his teeth and hair, checking the backpack, and putting on shoes. I just leave him to it and trust that it’s getting done. Junior high boys are a mixed bag when it comes to personal hygiene, so I try not to nag — but it takes all I have.

Before 8am - Stephanie Click

I was so glad that Karen caught this photo, because it’s a typical one of us. Our conversation went something like…
Me :: “Avery, did you brush your hair?”
Avery :: “Yes.”
Me :: “Avery … really?”
Avery :: {laughing} “Okay … I’ll go do it!”

Before 8am - Stephanie Click

Our junior high is massive and over-crowded. Avery isn’t able to go to his locker throughout the day, so all of his books are in his backpack. It weighs 19 pounds. I fear the chiropractic bills that I’ll have later in life because this child and the backpack.

Before 8am - Stephanie Click

The last thing we do before taking off to the bus stop is pray. I heard my pastor’s wife speak one time in a special message and she said, “If you aren’t praying for your own child, who is?” That stuck to me like glue. Now, we take a few seconds and pray for the day, for health and safety, for friends, and to make good choices. Being a kid in today’s world is hard, but that’s another post!

Before 8am - Stephanie Click

Before 8am - Stephanie Click

Now, the time is 6:45am, the neighborhood is quiet. I watch Avery walk until he meets up with other kids heading to the bus stop. He’s loaded with a GPS tracking device and all the items that no parent 10 years ago would have ever thought a child would need. But, oh how the world has changed! I get texts when the bus picks him up and another one when he arrives at school. Anxiety, party of 1 – right here.

Before 8am - Stephanie Click

… and upon my return, Piper is awake. Her alarm goes off at 6:45am and she has usually just made her way downstairs when I come back in from the bus stop.

Before 8am - Stephanie Click

Piper is very different from her brother. She is also VERY easy to parent, but her personality is larger than life — and she hits the ground running.

Before 8am - Stephanie Click

Our pantry is out of control. It’s very large and is the feature that sold me on this floorplan. But right now, it’s a crazy mess. Piper, too, is a lover of breakfast. She likes to mix it up and will rarely have the same thing two days in a row. Piper is fiercely independent and wouldn’t dream of taking help with her breakfast. She’s learning to cook, and I’m sure before long will be making breakfast for the entire family.

Before 8am - Stephanie Click

My kids are milk drinkers. They should have been born to a farmer and his wife. We go through milk like crazy between cereal and all of the meals. It’s by far the drink of choice for the Click kids.

Before 8am - Stephanie Click

Piper is definitely my child – she is a scheduler. She likes to know what’s on tap for the day, where/what time she has to be somewhere, and what the expectations are. After breakfast, we usually take a few seconds/minutes to chat about the day and get it all ironed out. She’ll then watch an episode of A Baby Story. She wants to be a professional dancer and a NICU doctor. {Note her Doc McStuffins pajamas!}

Before 8am - Stephanie Click

Last fall, we went on vacation with some dear friends. For Christmas they sent us a Disney calendar and every day, Piper changes the number. Piper has claimed this as her soul responsibility. She never forgets to change it — ever. She has funny little quirks like this. Her memory is like a steel trap.

Before 8am - Stephanie Click

My shadow … our master bathroom isn’t huge by Texas standards. It’s plenty big for Don and I to share, but then there’s this one. She has staked claim as well and moved on in. Honestly, I think she’s just so much of a people person that she can’t imagine getting ready in her own bathroom when she could keep me company!

Before 8am - Stephanie Click

Our elementary school uses daily “behavior cards” for every child. Parents need to initial each day to prove that we’ve seen it. If there’s a problem or concern, the teacher can address it immediately. Both of my kids are “rule followers” – marks on their behavior card cut to the core for them. But Piper insists that I go over it with her every day even though there’s never {99% of the time} anything on it!

Before 8am - Stephanie Click

As pack up time begins for child #2, Piper checks her phone. She always does a few things :: {1} turns her ringer off – it’s not allowed to be on in her classroom, {2} checks to see what dance classes she has that night, {3} makes sure her GPS device is enabled, and {4} checks her Fitbit battery.

Before 8am - Stephanie Click

Before 8am - Stephanie Click

I will finish my sweet tea while Piper puts on her shoes and checks her backpack.

Before 8am - Stephanie Click

This was a special day as Piper began Safety Patrol. She has looked forward to this since she started Kindergarten. She is SO excited!

Before 8am - Stephanie Click

Before 8am - Stephanie Click

… 7:40am, and we’re off! A quick drive to school and praying with Piper on the way makes for a good morning!

In looking at these photographs, I’m reminded that there are many disadvantages to being a working mom, but there are also many rewards. I see in each of these pictures two very independent and self-sufficient kids. They get themselves up, fed, dressed, and ready on their own every day! That is the prize for these kids and one that they don’t realize.

I’m so incredibly grateful that we had this opportunity. These pictures are a treasure to me, and I know the other moms in the series feel the same way.

To see Karen’s perspective from her Before 8am morning with us, check out her blog post here.  And don’t forget to check out the rest of the posts within this amazing series as well!

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8 Responses to Before 8am {Stephanie}

  1. Avatar
    BreonnaH May 12, 2015 at 6:24 am #

    Omg I love Avery!

  2. Avatar
    Debbie Ray May 12, 2015 at 8:36 am #

    Children today should be more active in learning about how to take care of themselves. This is a prime example. Love the story!

  3. Avatar
    Paco Montoya May 12, 2015 at 9:13 am #

    This is awesome! I love seeing your mornings! Felt like I was right there watching it unfold. Thanks for sharing this with everyone, I’m sure some people might not find it easy to do.

  4. Avatar
    Mike Minter May 12, 2015 at 4:53 pm #

    Super..SUPER COOL! This was awesome…enjoyed it…what a great Click moment captured forever. Something Avery and Piper can share with their future families someday.

  5. Avatar
    Valerie May 13, 2015 at 7:29 am #

    I don’t think you are less of a mom because they make breakfast. I think it’s fantastic! Our job as parents is to raise smart, caring, independent human beings, and it sounds l like you are doing just that!

  6. Avatar
    Kristy M May 14, 2015 at 10:39 pm #

    I loved seeing y’alls morning! So sweet! 🙂 It’s nice to get a glimpse at the next stage of mommyhood: school time. Thanks for sharing, Stephanie!

  7. Avatar
    Jennifer May 16, 2015 at 10:38 am #

    My mom stopped making me breakfast/lunch when I was around your sons age. I begrudged this at first, but also relished in the fact that I could have Oreos and Hawaiian punch every single day. Ha. My friends always wanted to trade. Looking back, it taught me to be independent and eventually, to actually want to make healthy choices. Flash forward twenty years and I’m still packing my lunch for work. No, you are not a mean mom! Your kids are learning to be self serving, make choices, and cope!

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